Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reading the IBAR

I'm reading the "Initial Benchmark Assessment Report" that our shrub says "shows progress" in Iraq (we've heard that before). The full text is here:
While I hope to deconstruct some of the specifics over the course of the day, here's some initial responses:
1. Very weak standards for what they call "satisfactory". All 8 benchmarks where the "progress" is graded "satisfactory" would be better described "not a total disaster".
2. On 2 benchmarks, the report takes a pass, saying "too soon to tell". Maybe.
3. The 8 benchmarks where the progress is graded "unsatisfactory" include the oil law and various security benchmarks. You know, the important stuff.
4. Some of the "evidence of progress" sited are directly contradicted by the facts on the ground (i.e. reductions in sectarian violence).
5. Lots and lots of references to al-Qaida in Iraq, crediting AQI with much more influence than most analysts would.
6. It's all well and good for the US to set 18 benchmarks for Iraq, but these are American goals, not necessarily Iraqi goals. Reading the Iraqi press I conclude that their goals aren't quite the same as ours, especially the political goals.
7. There's a hell of a lot of propaganda mixed into the report. Our shrub likes to politicize everything.
Like I said, I'll try to get into more detail over the course of the day.
added:graphic from WTF

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